The '''Indian Health Service''' ('''IHS''') is an operating division (OPDIV) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
(HHS). IHS is responsible for providing direct medical and public health
services to members of federally-recognized Native American Tribes
and Alaska Natives|Alaska Native people
. IHS is the principal federal health care provider and health advocate for Indian people, and its mission is to raise their health status to the highest possible level.
IHS provides health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives at 33 hospitals, 59 health center
s, and 50 health stations. Thirty-four urban Indian
health projects supplement these facilities with a variety of health and referral services. Many tribes also operate their own health systems independent of IHS.